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Full text of "My Country And My People"

THE    CHINESE    CHARACTER               57

man when he is down55 out of respect for fair play, the Chinese
equivalent expression "do not push a fellow to the wall53 is
merely a matter of culture, or hanyang^ as we call it.

To the Chinese, the Versailles Treaty is not only unfair, it
is merely vulgar or lacking in Hanyang. If the Frenchman had
been inbued a little with the spirit of Taoism at the moment
of his victory, he would not have imposed the Versailles Treaty,
and his head would rest more easily on his pillow to-day. But
France was young, and Germany would certainly have done
the same thing, and no one realizes the extreme silliness of two
nations like France and Germany each trying to keep the other
permanently under its iron heels. But Clemenceau had not
read Laotse. Nor has Hitler. So let them fight, while the Taoist
watches and smiles.

Chinese pacifism is also largely a matter of temperament as
well as of human understanding. Chinese boys fight much
less in the street than Western boys. As a people, we fight
much less than we ought to, in spite of our interminable civil
wars. Put the American people under the same misrule and
there would have been thirty revolutions, not three, in the last
twenty years. Ireland is now at peace because the Irish fought
hard, and we are still fighting to-day because we do not fight
hard enough.

Nor are Chinese civil wars fighting in the real sense of the
word. Until recently, civil wars were never glorified. Con-
scription for service is unknown, and the soldiers who do the
fighting are poor people who do not know how to make a
living otherwise. These soldiers do not relish a good fight, and
the generals relish the fight because they do not do the fighting.
In any major campaign silver bullets have always won, in
spite of the fact that the conquering hero may make a majestic
triumphal return to the capital to the accompaniment of the
boom of guns. Those guns—they suggest so much the sound
of battle, and they are typical, for in Chinese private quarrels
and civil warfare, it is the sound and noise that make up the
essence of the battle. One does not see fighting in China; one
merely hears it. I heard two such battles, one in Peking, and
one in Amoy. Aurally, it was satisfying. Usually a superior
army merely awes the inferior enemy into defeat, and what